The Thunder Bay and Area Food and Agriculture Market Study was a Priority Project of the Food Strategy's 2015 Implementation Plan. There has been a critical shortage of information about the Thunder Bay Area's agri-food sector that would assist in the growth of the local food economy. To address this information gap, a partnership of 12 local agriculture associations, organizations, and businesses identified the need to undertake a market study to better understand the local market, particularly the potential market share of local food, to ultimately encourage increased local food production and local food processing through business expansion and development.
Key findings include a critical overview of demand for local food by sector (food programs, distribution, processing, raw food retail, prepared food) with information on what food products and at what volumes are being purchased and processed. In addition, the study reports on main motivations and causes of concern for local food procurement, conditions that would facilitate easier access to local food for businesses and organizations, purchasing habits and packaging preferences, and factors determining overall patterns of consumption by individual consumers.
The study was funded by several local contributors including Beef Farmers of Ontario, Eat Local Pizza, EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, Thunder Bay Country Market, Thunder Bay Federation of Agriculture, Thunder Bay Soil and Crop Improvement Association, and Thunder Bay Ventures.
This project was also funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.